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People put their trust in so called men of God. It doesn’t matter what faith they come from: Christianity, Judaism, Islam. It seems that no matter your religion, the leaders of your faith are among the wisest and most untrustworthy people you can encounter.
Everything Is Going Down, But The Word Of God……Pastor Long was a controversial figure. There is no denying that. But he was a man of God and despite his harsh anti-homosexual sensibilities, he seemed to inspire faith in all of his thousands of parishioners. That is until the world found out about the double life he was secretly living behind the curtain…
Faith from Birth
Pastor Eddie was born in Huntersville, North Carolina on May 12, 1953. As the son of the Reverend Floyd, Eddie was born predisposed to being a part of the faith. He strove to emulate his father and live the same virtuous Christian life that he had lived. He would have joined the ministry when he came of age, but his parents wanted him to have a proper education as well.
Eventually, Eddie found himself attending North Carolina Central University in Durham. There, the would-be priest received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. His first job out of college in 1977 found him working as a factory sales rep for the Ford Motor Company.
Eddie was uncommonly charismatic and a natural leader, so the job at Ford seemed suited for him. Unfortunately, he was fired after submitting expense reports that included personal telephone calls. This later became known as one of the first signs that Eddie was a serious liar and dangerous. After that, he moved to Atlanta and decided to follow his dream of joining the ministry like his father.
He studied theology and before long, became the pastor of the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. The small church only had around 300 members at first that was Birth out of a split. There had been some disagreements among the membership that Rev. Kenneth Samuels pastored, but in a few short years, under the leadership of that Pastor Long, that congregation grew to over 25,000. It seemed that Eddie had finally found his knack in life…
During his tenure at the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, Pastor Long became renowned for his flashy, charismatic style of preaching. He was loud and passionate, and people came from miles around to hear his impassioned sermons. Of course, the subjects of his sermons could be considered highly controversial.
Pastor Long’s main take on homosexuality was that it was wrong and he often preached his hardline anti-gay stance in his sermons. He once led an anti-gay march through Atlanta, Georgia and regarded homosexuality as akin to “spiritual abortion.” He also led sexual reorientation conferences and sought to find a cure for the “homosexual epidemic.” This, of course, brought, even more, attention to his church…
Love and Marriage
Regardless of his public feelings on homosexuality, Eddie was still looking for love himself. He found it in Dabara S. Houston, a young woman living in the Atlanta area. They had a son, Edward Long. The beginning years of their marriage were pure bliss, but soon Long’s extreme behavior and opinions began to overwhelm his new wife.
Trouble at Home
After two years, Dabara filed for divorce stating that said she had been the victim of “cruel treatment” and that she was afraid of Eddie’s “violent, vicious temper.” According to her, she and her son had been forced to flee the home one night to ensure their safety. Pastor Long denied all of these claims but lost custody of their son after the divorce. It was the first sign that Long was not who he portrayed himself to be…
After Houston and Long split, the pastor met and married Vanessa Griffin, former Miss Morris Brown. Their terms of their relationship were similar to the way they had been with his first wife. Eddie was in charge, and it was Eddie who made all the calls in the marriage. Of course, despite all this, Vanessa was comfortable and rewarded for her taking a quite backseat to his lead. In the early years you almost did not know who, Eddie’s wife was. In fact it was only until rumors started surfacing the public relations move was made to bring some attention to Vanessa. The pastor was doing well financially, and his burgeoning parish was still growing exponentially.
Eddie’s church had not suffered at all from the news that he had divorced his first wife, nor did it change at all once he remarried. But in 2010, four young men came forward with some shocking news about the anti-gay pastor’s unbecoming behavior towards them behind closed doors and his attempts to hide said behavior…
Maurice Robinson, Anthony Flagg, Jamal Parris and Spencer LeGrande all came forward with information about Pastor Long. He said he placed all four of them on the church’s payroll, bought them cars and other gifts, including expensive tropical vacations, to keep them quiet about the things he had done to them. However, long before these four guys came forward his office was a revolving door of all these young sons. Constantly checks was cut for thousands of dollars for cars, tuition, rent, and whatever else they needed and wanted. It was obvious to everyone he enjoyed the company of young guys and did not seem to hide it or care to try.
The boys also claimed that Long discussed the Holy Scripture to justify and support the sexual activity that they were engaging in. The boys’ lawyer, B.J. Bernstein, said they told her that these meetups were, “essentially like a marriage ceremony, with candles, exchange of jewelry and biblical quotes.” Pastor Long, of course, denied these allegations, but the damage was done…
Long was not about to give up without a fight. He refused to address the allegations in public, and the act prompted a group of over 70 people, headed by the pastor of another small church in South Carolina, to hold a protest rally on the steps of the Georgia state Capitol. They wanted Pastor Long to resign from his post and admit to having harmed those four young men.
The accusations were too much for the Pastor’s wife, Vanessa and she decided to file for divorce in December of 2011. The church tried their best to minimize coverage of the divorce, they even attempted to cover it up, publically announcing that she had decided to remain with her husband even though it wasn’t true. This was another public example of his lying to save his public image. Things were not looking good…
Stand by Your Man
On February 17, 2012, Vanessa Long asked that the divorce petition get dismissed. Even though she abhorred Long’s alleged actions with those fatherless boys, she ultimately chose to return to her marriage to help pull him through his difficult times and to stay with the church she loved. However, it is rumored they never cohabitied again and were living separately when he died.
Reaching a Settlement
Pastor Long continued to deny the claims for years until he finally decided to settle with them out of court. He couldn’t prove that the allegations against him were false, but he could try to minimize the damage. Nevertheless, just as it seemed his troubles with over, another boy came along with a similar claim known as the fifth accuser, Centino Kemp, who walked in the courtroom and totally changed the outcome of the case. Although, Centino was looking for quick fame and wrote a book full of lies that he had a relationship with Eddie Long was not true. He was actually only had sex with Eddie Long one time when he under his alias, Dick Tracey, answered Centino’s ad on Craig’s List while he was in Charlotte at his location there in North Carolina. The boys had come to him prior to going public and asked for Four Million Dollars. Each wanted to agree to be quite for One Million each. Long was so arrogant he said no and would counter with $250,000 each. Much to his surprise they called his bluff.
The Price of Corruption
As it turned out, Pastor Long’s questionable behavior was not limited to the pure pedophilia, he also reportedly stole more than $3.07 million worth of compensation and benefits for his nonprofit “charity” between 1997 and 2000. He didn’t solicit donations from members of course, but he did admit to taking royalties, speaking fees, and large donations.
Even after a lengthy investigation into the corruption and embezzlement came up inconclusive, donations to Pastor Long’s church dropped off significantly. Long’s salary and popularity fell with it, and it soon became more prudent for him to fade away from public view than to try and fight an uphill battle against his notoriousness…
Other church officials and ministers such as Paul Crouch, Ted Haggard, George Reekers, and John Geoghan were also guilty of similar crimes. Many of whom were also outspoken about their blatantly negative stance on homosexuality. John Geoghan was, of course, the worst of the bunch, having been accused of molesting up to 130 young boys.
Towards the end of his life, Long slipped quietly into private life. He resurfaced in 2016 when he posted a video on Facebook of his massive weight loss, which he attributed to eating only raw vegetables. A few months later he released a statement that he was recovering from an unspecified illness. In January of 2017, after a long bout with cancer, Eddie Long died at the age of 63. It is most amazing that one man that grew his church to world notetarity could not concur his personal issues to the point his most private issue became world knowledge. The other thing that is so sad is Eddie Long lied to himself, his family, and congregation to the bitter end. It was almost like he could not find it in himself to tell the truth and died a liar.